PTA Presidents' Council leader cited for bringing parents together
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
At PS/IS 104 in Bay Ridge, the students wear T-shirts emblazoned with a Superman logo on the front. On the back is a slogan, “PS/IS 104 puts a stop to bullying.”
Tolerance, acceptance and brotherhood are all part of the curriculum at the school, according to Principal Marie J. DiBella. “The children learn how to be kind to one another,” she said during a school assembly on Thursday.
The school, which has students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade, has a history of honoring people who exemplify the spirit of cooperation. Each year, the PTA of PS/IS 104 hosts an International Brotherhood Tea and bestows the Brotherhood Award to a recipient who has worked to bring people together. “The Brotherhood Tea has been a part of the 104 culture for countless number of years,” DiBella said. The tradition dates back over 40 years, she said.
Past winners have included Bill Guarinello, president and CEO of HeartShare Human Services of New York.
This year’s Brotherhood Award winner was Doreen Daly, president of the PTA Presidents’ Council of School District 20 (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst). Daly, who is also president of the PTA at PS 176 in Dyker Heights, has been a parent leader in the public school system for 11 years. She is an active parent leader in the New York City public school system despite a demanding career as an occupational therapist.
As the head of the Presidents’ Council, Daly assists the PTAs of more than two dozen schools and in some cases, organizes parents herself if there is no PTA in a school. With a diverse population in District 20 that includes immigrant parents from more than 20 countries, Daly works to ensure that all parents’ voices are heard in their schools.
“She has strongly advocated on behalf of others,” said Janine Faustner, treasurer of the PS/IS 104 PTA. “Doreen is indeed a community treasurer.”
Faustner and PTA President Donna Periera-Jahn presented Daly with a plaque.
Before Daly got her plaque, the children of PS/IS 104 had a gift for her. The school’s Senior Chorus and Dance program and second graders from in Class 2-112 performed for her during the ceremony in the auditorium.
The senior chorus and dance troupe, made up of seventh and eighth graders, performed a hand jive with plastic cups while the song “(Cups) You’re Gonna Miss Me” was played. The students then clapped their hands and sang the Sara Bareilles’ song, “I Want To See You Be Brave” under the direction of teachers Norine Castine and Mary Donnelly.
Class 2-112 performed a musical. The children portrayed residents of “Old Town,” where the citizens struggle to make a living and feed their families. Into town come three wandering strangers who ask for help but wind up helping the town’s residents feed themselves by making a dish called “stone soup.”
The theme of the musical, which the children performed under the direction of teacher Alisse Silverman, was about the importance of being kind to strangers.
“Out of the mouths of babes,” DiBella said.
Daly said she was impressed. In her acceptance speech, she focused not on herself and her accomplishments, but on the students. “That performance was outstanding,” she told them.
Following the ceremony, the PTA hosted a tea in the school cafeteria.